A year ago, Samsung wasn't much of a player in the laptop space aside from a few Netbooks. This year, however, the equation changed. We've seen Samsung midrange laptops that have offered great value for their components, with designs that seem to be getting progressively better. With the company's newest batch of laptop announcements, that trend seems to be continuing.
The NF and SF series of Netbooks and laptops adopt a similar design, with curved, glossy lines and raised walls around the keyboard deck. The look feels particularly suited to living-room use, as if these laptops were more furniture than office device. In the case of the NF210, the look is more a cosmetic touch to a straightforward 10.1-inch Netbook with an Atom N455 processor and a higher-than-normal $379 pricetag. The SF510 is a Core i3 laptop with a 15.6-inch screen and integrated Intel graphics, selling for $799.
On the higher-end and more graphics-intensive end of the scale, the RF and QX series have a boxier, more metallic look that falls somewhere between Asus' midrange options and the recent Sony Vaio redesigns. The RF510 and RF710 look like revamps of the R580 we reviewed previously.
Equipped with Core i5-460M and Core i7-720QM CPUs and dual-bay hard drive options, the RF510 has a 15.6-inch 1,366x768 display while the larger RF710 is 17.3 inches at 1,600x900. A discrete Nvidia GeForce GT330M GPU comes standard. Prices are $939 for the Core i5 RF510-S01, $1,079 for the Core i7 RF510-S02, and $1,099 for the 17-inch Core i7 RF710.
Our favorite of all might be the Best Buy-exclusive QX410, a laptop that looks like a thinner version of the Q430-11 that caught our eye in this year's back-to-school retail roundup. Weighing 5 pounds, it looks like it hits the sweet spot size-wise with a 14-inch screen, and specs including a Core i5 processor, Nvidia Optimus automatic-switching graphics with a GeForce 310M GPU, and 4GB of DDR3 RAM. The price, $899, is a bit higher than the Q430-11, but it also looks a lot thinner and more portable.
All four lines will be available this fall.